Our Perspective

      • Nothing threatens the future as much as the debt of the past | Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi

        15 Jul 2013

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        The Police Training and Development Unit of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) conducting a two-week training programme in criminal investigation at General Kaahiye Police Academy. (Credit: Tobin Jones/UN Photo)

        The "complementarity" principle embedded in the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court gives national criminal justice systems primacy in prosecuting serious international crimes. Whenever possible, international crimes should be tried by domestic courts, since this strengthens national ownership, legitimacy and confidence in the justice system. Transitional  justice is not a special kind of justice, but an approach to achieving justice in times of transition from conflict and/or state repression. I spoke recently at UNDP’s Annual Meeting on Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-Affected and Fragile Situations about complementarity and the challenge for development actors (PDF) to effectively embed these efforts within transitional justice processes, rule of law assistance and the broader development framework. Holding perpetrators to account for serious violations is a complex and sensitive issue, which must be driven by the national society to be successful. Working with partners such as Denmark, South Africa and the International Centre for Transitional Justice, we can build and capitalize on the solid policy and knowledge base already developed. For example, UNDP and other UN agencies supported regional consultations in 2011 and 2012 in the Arab States, bringing together Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen to help national actors Read More

      • Afghanistan's future security lies in securing development | Ajay Chhibber

        11 Jul 2013

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        Constructed with the support of UNDP Afghanistan, 1,400 kilometres of road connect 4,600 villages to help 4 million people access markets. (Photo: UNDP Afghanistan)

        Recently announced negotiations with the Taliban and President Karzai’s reaction have put Afghanistan in the spotlight. There is intense interest in security. Equally important are issues of livelihoods and providing basic services such as water, roads, electricity, justice and the rule of law. These issues will determine how Afghan people react to the changing political and security landscape. Despite the gloomy news from Afghanistan, there are many positives. Over 2 million children, including girls, regularly attend school. Connectivity has improved with more than 14 million cell phone users. Budgetary systems are improving at national and municipal levels, to ensure better accountability and delivery of public services. Yet challenges remain. The likelihood of a sharp drop in aid post 2014 occupies attention. A pact made in Tokyo pledged around $4 billion per year in assistance to Afghanistan, but less than 50 percent has been delivered.   Part of the problem is lack of expertise at the local level to efficiently use this assistance, which will require a buildup of local government. Also, refugees returning from abroad and migrants from the countryside make Kabul the world’s fastest growing city. But this vulnerable population also creates insecurity. Without jobs no security is possible. There Read More

      • Using laws to help tackle HIV/AIDS resonates widely | Helen Clark

        09 Jul 2013

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        In 2005, a new national AIDS law developed with UNDP's support was approved by the Government in Kyrgyzstan. (Photo: UNDP Kyrgyzstan)

        Laws which safeguard dignity, health and justice are essential to effective HIV responses. This was one of the main messages of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, an independent panel of eminent legal, political and public health experts convened by UNDP on behalf of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS. The Commission’s landmark report, HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health, which provides a compelling evidence base and recommendations on how the law can be used to protect people living with and most vulnerable to HIV, was launched at the United Nations on 9 July 2012. One year later, the understanding that laws, based on evidence and grounded in human rights principles, are a relatively low-cost way of controlling HIV and reducing stigma, is taking root. Today, UNDP is working in partnership with governments,the United Nations and civil society partners in 82 countries to take forward the Commission’s findings and recommendations. National dialogues on issues of HIV, human rights and law in 20 countries have brought people living with and affected by HIV together with those who shape, interpret and enforce laws. Judicial sensitization, parliamentary development and strengthening national human rights institutions are also important elements of taking forward Read More

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